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How NOT to be scammed this holiday season

This is the time of year criminals kick their phishing expeditions and sordid schemes into high gear, according to the IRS.

The holiday season is in full swing and while we're all enjoying the time with family and friends scammers are looking to cash in at our expense.

This is the time of year criminals kick their phishing expeditions and sordid schemes into high gear, according to the IRS

David Tucker and Brian Watson with Arizona IRS say that's exactly why the IRS has dubbed this National Tax Security Awareness Week. 

Watson said they've seen an uptick in scammers targeting phishing emails in particular. 

"The perfect time for them to get that information is during the holiday season, when people are really quick at clicking links for ads and Black Friday sales, Cyber Monday sales and things like that," Watson said. 

One thing to watch out for is fake confirmations. Scammers will send you what looks like a confirmation from a legitimate retailer. 

RELATED: 5 things to remember to outsmart phone scammers

However, it will be for something you didn't purchase. When you click on the link to dispute or cancel the charges, the scammers ask for your credit card information. 

Then your information is used for a number of crimes including tax fraud. 

“These criminals that file false tax returns using your stolen identity the perfect time for them to get that information in during the holiday season," Watson said.

If you bought something this Cyber Monday, you might already be checking your inbox for a tracking email, but be careful where you click. 

Another scam involves the thieves sending an email that appears to be from FedEx, UPS or the post office telling you your shipment is delayed. However, when you click on it, your computer gets infected with a virus.

Also, don't give in to the temptation of free WiFi as you shop online. IRS spokesperson David Tucker said you can protect your personal and financial information by not making online purchases using public WiFi. 

Tucker saiid these systems aren't always secure and scammers have found ways to get information from your phone or computer through unprotected internet sources. 

RELATED: Survey: Most Americans plan to steer clear of shopping debt this holiday season

And while you're surfing the internet for the perfect gift for that special someone makes sure the site you're shopping on is legit. The IRS encourages people to shop on websites they know and have used before. Also, stick to websites with "https" in the URL. This means they should be secure. 

RELATED: Here's what you should know about filing your taxes

And we can't forget to mention charities. 'Tis the season of giving and countless organizations want and need your help, but not everyone who asks for money means well. 

Tucker says before you donate to a charity do your research. The IRS website has a list of legitimate charitable organizations